Medici (1995) is a classic designed by one of the most influential people in board games, DOCTOR Reiner Knizia, and is the distilled pure essence of an auction game. Players bid their points on collections of goods, some they want, some they don’t, earning more points by set collection of those goods. Period. End of story.  Medici inspired an excellent card game version in 2016, and now Grail Games has announced the third in the family,  Medici: The Dice Game.

Also designed by the good doctor, Medici: The Dice Game is a dice drafting, roll and write game, which retains the simple elegance of the original. 2-4 players will spend their turns over 3 rounds filling the hold of their ship, trying to collect the most valuable goods, as well as majorities in each good type. Once again using the stunning artistic talents of Vincent Dutrait, Medici: The Dice Game is scheduled to hit Kickstarter in November 2019. For more information, check out Grail Games website here.

Scott Almes is adding to the “Tiny Epic” series from Gamelyn Games, this time with Tiny Epic Dinosaurs, a worker placement/resource management game for 1-4 players which plays in about 30-60 minutes. The game is funding on Kickstarter now.

In Tiny Epic Dinosaurs, the players are ranchers trying to run the most successful dinosaur ranching farm. They do this through 6 rounds, each of which contains several phases during which they will harvest resources, put their ranching team to work buying new dinosaurs, tending those dinosaurs, improving the ranch for those dinosaurs, and hopefully breeding those dinosaurs. The player who most successfully accomplishes all that – scoring the most victory points – wins the game.

Tiny Epic Dinosaurs has already funded and unlocked several stretch goals. The game has about 3 more weeks to go in its Kickstarter campaign. If you are interested in further information about this campaign, check it out here.

“Hey everybody, it’s time for MATCH-O-RAMA™! Trade in the usual dice-rolling routine for a game night that will have you looking for lights and cameras—can you dig it?”

Publisher theOP, previously known as USAopoly, has announced the hilarious new game-show-style party game, Match-O-Rama from lead designer Pat Marino (Die Hard: The Nakatomi Heist Board Game). In Match-O-Rama, 4-8 friends come to the table armed with a dry erase board and a prediction wheel. A category is chosen from the deck of cards, such as “local sports teams” or “classes you hated in high school”. Everybody then writes down answers they feel other players are likely to pick. The prediction wheel allows you to decide if your answer will come up within the next 2 players, or the next 4 four players around the table. The tighter your prediction, the more points you earn. Everybody reveals their answers and points are given. The first player to 35 points wins the whole shebang in Match-O-Rama.

Match-O-Rama is available now exclusively at Target stores. The game comes with 8 dry erase boards and prediction wheels, 100 category cards, and 60 scoring tokens. For more information, check out theOP’s website here.

Exploding Kittens, a simple but funny card game by Shane Small, along with Matthew Inman and Elan Lee, creators of the comic strip The Oatmeal, stunned the board game community in 2013 when it broke records on Kickstarter, earning $8.8M from 219,000 backers. Since then, the company has released several games including the dodge ball inspired Throw Throw Burrito, Bears vs Babies, and the recent Wolfgang Warsch game On a Scale of One to T-Rex. The company is even starting its own convention, Burning Cat, set to premiere in Portland, Oregon in May 2020.

Exploding Kittens has recently announced that it has received investment capital of $30 million from the TCG Capital Management to finance its continued growth. Kittens has said the investment will be used “to develop more games for its fans, expand its IP into live events, build out its team, control more of its production and distribution, and continue to experiment with innovative ideas around gameplay to help further build the community.”

For the full press release please click here.

One of the big hits from GenCon 2019 was Matt Leacock’s spiritual successor to Roll Through the Ages, the roll-and-build game Era: Medieval Age. People loved the tactile nature of gathering buildings and walls, and creating a city to score on their peg board. The one criticism people had about the game was that the yellow player boards were difficult to read.

Eggertspiel has heard the mandate of the people, and is now offering sticker sheets for the game to make the labeling more clear. By visiting the Eggertspiel webpage here, players can have these sticker sheets mailed to them for the cost of postage. The company wants to make it clear that retail versions of the game will be coming with sticker sheets attached, so please only request a sheet if your copy did not come with one supplied. Additionally, when Era was displayed at GenCon, the buildings and pieces were neatly organized on a custom mat. People were so enamored with this mat, that Eggertspiel has now made it available in neoprene through their web store. For more details on the mat, please visit Eggertspiel here

Sit Down! Games has five new games and an expansion to be released at Internationale Spieltage SPIEL 2019. All products are available for pre-order now for pick-up at Essen.

Hidden Roles is a small expansion for Magic Maze that increases interaction and makes the games a semi-cooperative. Each player receives a secret role, possibly becoming a traitor, or getting a secret mission, or following their own special rules. Like Magic Maze, this expansion is divided into five difficulty levels so you can learn the game gradually. Unlike Magic Maze, a minimum of three players is needed to play this expansion. Hidden Roles comes with 53 Role Cards, 1 “I’ve got my eye on you” card, and 2 Warning Cards.

Magic Maze on Mars is a stand-alone game that takes the Magic Maze gameplay to Mars. Like Magic Maze, Magic Maze on Mars is a real-time, cooperative game where each player is in charge of a specific action, and may be the only player who can perform that action, so communication, which only occurs in very specific and short periods of the game, is key to coordinate efforts.  In a race against time, players gather the resources necessary to build the station complex, including locations for domes to house Mars colonists.  Building good routes from the landing pad to the domes and keeping pathways clear is important.  Resources can be spent to extend the time to build the station, but once colonists arrive, time can no longer be extended.  The players win when one of the colonists moves into a dome before the time expires.

House Flippers is a simultaneous action selection game where income is managed by a collection of sand timers that represent the time to generate income.  When the sand timer runs out, players collect their income.  With the income, they can renovate property which they can resell at a higher cost.  Or players can buy a rental property which will give them another sand timer that also generates income. Or player can hire an interior decorator to double the income from a sand timer.  Players continue to flip properties (and sand timers) until the have enough income to reach a golden retirement, which provides an objective condition to end the game.  The first one to accomplish their retirement objective wins. House Flippers is a fast pace game for 2-4 players, ages 7+, and plays in 10 minutes.

Palm Reader is a cooperative game in which one player, who has chosen a symbol from a card, must get everyone else to guess it. By using your index finger, you draw this symbol in your left neighbor’s palm, who draws it in their neighbor’s palm, and so on… but no one ever sees what is drawn.  After the final player has received the tracing, reveal the card, then have all players vote on what they believe the starting symbol was. You receive as many victory points as the number of players in a row who successfully guess the symbol. Palm Reader comes with 108 double-sided cards, each with five choices of symbols for the active player.

Space Bowl is a pattern recognition game where players are looking for a habitable constellation in the galaxy based on the report from the computer.  The galaxy is made up a 5×5 grid of constellation cards, each with a selection of planets.  The Ships Computer board reveals a 3×3 sector of space with specific planets in each sector.  Players race to identify which sector of space meets the computer specification. Points are scored and lost based on how successful players are in finding a matching constellation.  The player with the most points at the end of the game wins. The 56 constellation cards in the deck will ensure that space will always look different. Space Bowl plays 2-8 players, ages 8+ in 30 minutes.

Lastly, Wormlord is fast paced simultaneous action game where players command an army of worms to conquer objectives on the battlefield.  Worms are represented by strings, and they are deployed on the battlefield by tying them in a lose knot and placed in a square.  Worms are conquered by picking up an adjacent enemy worm, untying it and returning it to the owner’s pile.  Only one string can be in a player’s hands at a time.  The first player to conquer three objectives on the battlefield wins. The game include 60 earthworm strings (15 in four different colors). Wormlord plays 2-4 players (or up to 8 in teams), ages 6+ (as long as they can tie a knot), in 5-10 minutes.

Visit Sit Down! Games to learn more or see them at their Essen booth 3-0120.

Lucky Duck Games has launched a Kickstarter campaign for their next game set in the Time of Legends: Joan of Arc universe. Time of Legends: Destinies promises to build upon the app integration of Chronicles of Crime. One to three players each take on the role of an adventurer trying to fulfill their destiny. Players can interact with locations, app-controlled characters, and objects through QR codes, like in Chronicles of Crime. The purpose of the app integration is to allow the narrative story to drive the game and be experienced by all players. The app-integrated adventure and exploration game is something we have seen before, but Destinies sets itself apart by providing a competitive play experience, instead of cooperative. The game will provide campaign as well as one-and-done scenario play.

Time of Legends: Destinies is designed by Michał Gołębiowski and Filip Miłuński. The game’s art is by Karolina Jędrzejak and Magdalena Leszczyńska. The Kickstarter campaign has already funded, and will close at 5:59 pm EDT on October 16th.

“At this year’s Beach-a-Palooza, Steven has a surefire way to win: Recruit more Stevens from the timeline and have them all front their own bands!”

Steven Universe is an incredibly popular animated series created by Rebecca Sugar for Cartoon Network in 2013. In the show, Steven discovers the world of the Crystal Gems, magical beings with a fascinating backstory of escape, betrayal and freedom. Steven Universe has created an amazingly lush world of characters, and now Cryptozooic Entertainment has announced the boardgame  Steven Universe: Beach-a-Palooza from designers Erica Bouyouris (Bosk) and Andrew Wolf (Harry Potter: Hogwarts Battle).

In Beach-a-Palooza, 3-6 players take on the role of Steven. Well, alternate versions of Steven from different timelines, to be exact. Each player’s Steven is battling in the Beach-a-Palooza to put together the best band and win the whole show. But beware, because both corrupted and homeworld gems are crashing the party and want to ruin the show. Players draft cards to recruit both their band and their audience, and to generate energy and other effects. Use your fusion powers! Attack and bubble the corrupted gems! Play your cards right, and your band might be the big winner!

Look for Steven Universe: Beach-a-Palooza at your FLGS during the second quarter of 2020.

“Your hands are dirty, the back is aching and the clothes are sweaty, but your work for today is finished! The new mill looms proudly in front of you and the soft groaning and fluttering of the blades sounds like a choir of angels in your ears. Soon the golden wheat of your fields will be ground to valuable flour which will earn you a fortune. “

Lookout Spiele has announced a new title from master designer Alexander Pfister, Expedition to Newdale. Expedition takes place in the same world as the popular game Oh My Goods, a mere 5 years after the events of the Escape to Canyon Brook expansion, but does not require playing the previous card games. Expedition is a campaign story game spanning eight chapters, encompassing 15 hours of gameplay.

In Expedition to Newdale, 1-4 players each take control of a starting coal mine, a player board, and have a hand of 5 cards.  Each turn starts by revealing an event, which not only alters the play for the round, but also dictates how many workers minimum a player has for the round. Workers come in 4 colors, making planning for actions tricky. Players then place action tiles on action spaces, both on the main board and on their personal board. These tokens are numbered from 1-4, and set the order of actions their workers will execute. After planning the turn, more workers are drawn from the bag, which could make previously impossible actions completely doable, adding a push your luck element to the game. Finally, players execute their planned action tokens in order from 1 to 4, spending workers if they have them. However, if not enough workers became available during the random draw, some actions may go uncompleted.

Players will need to plan ahead, push their luck, and set up for a plan B to be successful in Expedition to Newdale. The game itself comes with 3 double sided boards, 4 player boards, one communal action board, over 220 cards, and tons of tokens. Look for Expedition to Newdale to debut at Essen Spiel in October, with full release to follow at the end of the year. For more details, check out Lookout Spiele’s webpage here.

For all those wanting to give back, and happen to be in Germany, publisher Board and Dice is sponsoring a special charity event for those attending Essen Spiel. Called Walk the Halls, the event is a simple one, taking advantage of the single thing most attendees are doing too much of anyway – walking. Anyone interested should first purchase the 10 Euro Charity product from the company here. Then, while at Essen Spiel (October 24-27) use any app or product to count steps, something a lot of you are already doing. Finally, during the last day at Essen, visit Board & Dice at booth C112, Hall2, to pick up a special medal.

All proceeds for the Walk will be going to the charity EFC – The Roman Czernecki’s Educational Foundation. An education focused charity, EFC is best summed up by Igor Czernecki, the Chairman of the Board:

“At the EFC Foundation, we deal with education. Our aim is threefold: we strive to create equal access to education, to promote creative, innovative ways of thinking about education in the light of the challenges of the XXI century, and to broaden its definition to include social responsibility and civic engagement.

We believe that non-governmental and nonprofit organizations have a specific obligation to constantly question the means chosen to achieve their statutory ends. It is hard to come by constructive criticism in philanthropy – there is no market verification or disenchanted voters. A grateful recipient is always at hand. Yet it is precisely the financial and political independence of NGOs that should oblige them to incessantly question how they spend their money. In any subcategory of human interaction with one-another or the environment there is a scale of the good, which can be achieved for one dollar. Yes, it is a subjective scale and yes, its extremities are an ideal, but this does not mean we should not work with this scale always on our minds. Constantly striving for the most good is what makes philanthropy the true ‘love of man’. “

Anyone wishing to spread word about Walk the Halls through social media is encouraged to do so, using the hashtag #WalkTheHallsForCharity. For more information on the event and the EFC, please visit Board & Dice’s webpage or their Facebook announcement.